Matthew Gatland

Throwing Things Out is Hard

April 25, 2017

I’ve always wanted to make games with custom hardware – games like Robin Baumgarten’s Line Wobbler or Flat Earth Games’ Objects in Space.

Line Wobbler

Line Wobbler, in a photo that does not do it justice

Because I’ve always wanted to do this, I’ve always kept things that I thought would be useful: old computers, hard drives, power adaptors for long-lost devices, joysticks, broken game controllers, spare speakers, old keyboards.

This is aspirational hoarding. I keep these things not because I’ve ever needed them, but because I would like to be the kind of person who needs them.

I don’t make hardware games.

Tonight I’m trying to throw it all out.

My brain fights me every step of the way.

What if I get rid of this cable, then find out 6 months later that I need one? They’re overpriced at every store.

This old hard drive still works. It doesn’t hold as much as a new one, but it would be perfect if I was building a special-purpose PC for some kind of project.

Maybe I’ll make a location-specific game where every player needs earphones. Having these 5 pairs ready to go is a great start!

My life has felt unfocused this year, and I think it will help if I’m more clear about what I’m not. I’m not a hardware hacker. I might become one – I’ve been many things! – but I’m not one today. I should not collect parts for an imagined future.